January 29, 2008

Ballz (SPORTS COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS): Super Sunday, when football’s a chip shot

We will gather. Yes, of course, we will. It is our annual rite. Our right inalienable.We will eat chips. Tons. Corn. Potato. And dips. Guacamole, lots of guacamole. So much that one of us, the guy in the corner with green dribbles down his sweater, will mention how there’s more avocados sold this weekend than the rest of the year combined. Or something like that.We will eat chili. Lots. White. Red. With spaghetti in some parts of the land, where that combo is as much ritual as our gathering. And cheese. Shredded. Sliced. Cubed. So much we resolve yet again that our New Year’s diet shall commence tomorrow. For sure. This is really the end of last year, no matter the calendar.And we will watch. Most of us, anyway. Some will hang by the chili and chitchat, glancing at the TV only when hearing howls about an off-the-chart Go Daddy commercial. A TV, by the by, purchased just for this occasion, though our hosts could care less about the game. Forty-inches-plus, HD, rated the best. Crisp picture. Lots of pixels.The aficionados will pay attention, not just the guys who played a season in Division III. The obsessed will have jockeyed for the good recliners, the ones with the best view and lumbar support.The guy in the Packers jersey will have found his spot well before kickoff, hoping against hope that the Favre interception he witnessed Sunday before last was a hallucination. He will blink, praying when his eyes open there will be guys warming up in green and gold; cheeseheads in the stands, recovering in the warmth of Phoenix from NFC title game frostbite. He will think of his QB, how he’s the most beloved icon in Cheeseland save Lombardi. How he turned from Good Brett to Evil Brett with one ill-advised interception. How the winter then turned more cold and bleak.Balancing bowls of chili on one knee, drinks and cookies on the other, football guys and gals will gather eagerly around that new set. They’ll lament that the game is really Yanks vs. BoSox redux, contested in pads and helmets in Arizona. They’ll bemoan the boring commentary of Troy Aikman.The real fans simply want a good one. Like the Giants/Bills in ’91. Or the Rams/Titans in ’00. The gal in the corner who went to school in Nashville will groan, “Another yard and Tennessee would have won.”It is the oddest phenomenon, the Super Bowl. Pro football is clearly America’s favorite sport. Yet the championship game itself has become an afterthought to most everybody except Jaws, Peter King and Dr. Z. There are the commercials, the endless pre-game and Tom Petty at halftime.“Nobody will beat Prince. Was that last year or the year before?”“Remember the ‘In Living Color’ halftime break, ‘Men On Football’? That was the best.” More’s the pity that hoopla reigns. This year’s is a compelling contest. The undefeated Pats dally with history. A win and they rival the best teams ever. In any sport. At any level. A Giants victory will dumbfound us. Two Ws in a row for Archie’s boys. We’ll be facing all Manning all the time.This Super Bowl extravaganza is so overwrought, so very American, so impossible to ignore. John Philip Sousa squared. Big, brassy, full of glitz, chips, dips and shots of Giselle Bundchen. With a diet always staring at us in the morning. Contact the writer at cdk@culturemaven.comMore to come. We love watching a nasty lovers’ quarrel, especially when it involves a major conference rival. The West Virginia-Rich Rodriguez battle is far from resolution. Last week’s barbs were just the tip of the iceberg. The over/under on its duration is in the Hatfield-McCoy range. This is more fun than “War of the Roses.” Lute’s last hurrah. A source advises that Lute Olson will not return to coaching duties at Arizona. At some point after the season he will retire for good. The school, I’m also told, will hire Kevin O’Neill, despite his mediocre resume and lobbying by some Wildcat fat cats who want assistant Josh Pastner. Not so Magic. I’d be a lot more impressed with TWill’s recent assist totals if he didn’t throw so many truly awful, ill-advised passes. Yo, dude, you are not the second coming of Pete Maravich.The Sampson effect. I want to but just can’t get behind the Hoosiers because of their coach’s recruiting illegalities.seedyk@culturemaven.com